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Margaret Bondfield
Margaret Bondfield entered politics through the trades union movement, having joined the National Union of Shop Assistants when she was twenty-one. During the 1890s she reported for the union on the appalling work and living conditions of shop girls. By 1898, she was the union's Assistant Secretary.

In 1923, she was elected an MP having decided she could achieve more for working women by entering parliament. The following year, she became the first woman to hold a ministerial post, as parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Labour. In 1929, she became Minister of Labour making her the first woman cabinet minister. Thrown in at the deep end, she had to administer the unpopular Unemployment Insurance Fund, meeting criticism from both left and right. With the collapse of the Labour government in 1931, Margaret Bondfield lost her seat.

Elsewhere on the web
BBC History: Margaret Bondfield
The Institution of Engineering and Technology: Dame Caroline Haslett

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